“Do you have everything?” Mom would ask as we took our backpack full of clothes, toothbrush, books, game-boys, music, tools, homework, and anything else you could imagine for a four hour car ride to our farm in Wisconsin. As all of six of us plus the dog got into our Plymouth Chrysler mini-van. There were two choices: the fast “94” route or the scenic route… Of course mom wanted to go the scenic route; the scenic route had amazing views, beautiful farmland, and guess what… cows…
Seth’s opening analogy is comparable with the beauty of the scenic route lost on us kids. Imagine driving through perfect farmlands, seeing the most beautiful black and white Holstein cows. Soon after seeing these cows in groves, you became desensitized to these amazing creatures. Then you see something totally different, your eyes focus on it, it is completely remarkable. A PURPLE COW. It is unique, remarkable, one of a kind…. until you see more of them, and more of them, and more of them. At what point does the purple cow become lost in the sea of the familiar?
Summary of Purple Cow
Purple Cow by Seth Godin is about marketing. The purple cow is a simple, yet impossible to define concept. It is about standing out in a world where consumers have seen everything, but in a way that provides value to the customer. In essence, the purple cow is about making your brand, product, service, image, etc. remarkable.
Websters defines remarkable as “worthy of being or likely to be noticed especially as being uncommon or extraordinary.”
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” – Seth Godin
So if we know what remarkable is what is it’s opposite: Common, average, familiar, inferior, normal, ordinary, regular, similar, standard…. you get the point. Average isn’t so bad? If there are 85 people in a bar, and Bill Gates is one of them, the average net worth of each individual is $1 billion dollars.
“There are three lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Benjamin Disraeli
Though according to Godin, the opposite of remarkable is none of these. It is actually something that is very good. WHATTTT? Have you ever been on an airline and they get you where you wanted to go and they did it safely? Did you tell anyone? What would make this flight remarkable? Something horrible beyond belief, right? (screaming triplets next to you, crash landing in the pacific, forgetting your phone charger…) Or something unbelievable, such as an upgrade to first class because they liked your shoes, served free champagne because it was your birthday, or gave you free tickets because they liked your jokes…
There are three camels: a papa camel, a mama camel, and a baby camel. Papa camel has 2 humps, mama camel has 1 hump, and baby camel has no humps. What did they name the baby camel?
So… what are possible solutions? How do we create a Purple Cow?
It’s obvious…. create a product/service/design that STANDS out from the competition.
To help your creative juices flow, check out some examples of purple cows.
Would love to hear your thoughts.
P.S. The baby camel’s name is Humphrey. 🙂